Cruising is the best way to travel! There are so many benefits, whatever your flavor. It’s true, there are some folks that like to go directly to a destination to have more time to explore, relax and enjoy. Cruising may actually help you decide what places you might pick over others. This is called investing in your travel so you aren’t disappointed in the destination you might pick. And, who knows, you may choose to repeat your visits and cruising is the best option.
Here are some benefits:
- It’s easy! Pack up your clothes, fly or drive to the port, get on the ship and you are on your way to a super trip on the seas
- If food is what you like, there are lots of food including several healthy options at every corner
- Is fitness part of your lifestyle? Full gym, classes, including yoga and juice bar to help maintain that super healthy lifestyle. There’s also a full spa with numerous services
- If you like formal, you can get as formal as you like a couple nights or all if you choose…it’s all good, people won’t look at you strangely
- It may be beer, wine, champagne or fun spirits you prefer, there is something for everyone
- If it’s water slides, pools, hot tubs, wave runners or splash zones, watching belly flop or hairy chest contests, there’s something for all
- It may be jazz, salsa, piano bars, games or karaoke
- There are shows, shows and more shows for all genres
- The more you cruise with the same cruise line, the more perks you get
My husband and I started cruising around 2009. We tried a cruise line that left out of Charleston, SC. It was an easy 3 hour drive to park and get on the ship. We had a great time and there were some nice stops which we have since traveled to for a vacation. Liking the cruise experience, we booked another cruise out of Miami, Florida. It went to the Western Caribbean which was really nice. There were some super stops that we hope to visit in the future.
Next cruise…third time is the charm. We decided to try Royal Caribbean out of Puerto Rico (PR). It was the Jewel of the Seas, literally. This ship was a bit older but it had recently been dry docked refurbished, and it looked great. Good friends of ours joined us as well as my husband’s parents who had just a “hop, skip, and jump” from St. Thomas over to Puerto Rico to get on the ship.
We decided to arrive early and stay in San Juan, PR a few days prior to embarking on the cruise. I highly recommend if you cruise out of PR that you go a few days early. There are many things to see like the Bacardi factory where you can learn how to make some original cocktails, rainforest, and Old San Juan. If you are a foodie like my husband and I, you will love Cafe Puerto Rico which is near Colon Plaza (Columbus Plaza) in Old San Juan and Raices which is just around the block.
Time to board the ship! And boy was it simple…not too long of a line, take your luggage right before you check in, simple check-in process, multiple lines to make it move quickly and then they greet you with rum punch!
I would recommend taking your swimwear in a carryon if you wish to hang out by one of the pools when you board, as staterooms are typically not ready at the time of boarding. Royal Caribbean is always looking for ways to improve the on boarding experience. I can tell the difference in just a few years of sailing with them. Once onboard you can start to enjoying many of the food and drink options. If you purchased the drink and/or dining packages you can start to enjoy those as well. You will be able to check out the specialty restaurant menus’ and make reservations for the rest of the week. If you haven’t purchased either of those, don’t worry, you can purchase once onboard. Don’t get too comfortable too soon because you will have to go to your muster station before the ship sails.
Our favorite spots on this ship are the Solarium and Champagne Bar. Maria at the Champagne bar was super. She has such a great personality and is perfect for servicing the guests at that Champagne bar. I’ve heard she’s gotten promoted recently and that’s well deserved from what we experienced. If you want someone to get creative with martini’s here, she’s the one. I think my husband had every possible type of chocolate martini possible and all of them were excellent!
This cruise was my father-in-laws 1st vacation with the family. This is a man who works every day, including holiday’s back home in St. Thomas, USVI. OMG, he had the best time! There were times where we didn’t know where he went. We would look for him and find him enjoying games in the Safari club…who would have thought…He would have so much fun; he was asking when we were going on the next cruise.
Such a fun ship and part of the Radiance class. Right now they cruise out of Europe and also Puerto Rico. Both have great stops and you can’t go wrong on this ship. We have since cruised the Royal Caribbean Voyager and Royal Caribbean Oasis class since the Jewel. Right now, my favorite class is the Oasis…more to come on that and the Voyager class later but, I would definitely consider the Jewel in the future depending on the itinerary.
Next up…Tavernier family cruise out of Puerto Rico on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas.